Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 89

It’s once time again for another issue of Brian’s The Week In Smoke. In case this is your first Week in Smoke, be advised that it covers many (though not necessarily all) of the cigars I’ve smoked in the past week (or the past month, or however long it has been since the last issue), along with a couple of quick thoughts that came to me at the time. These are not full cigar reviews, but quick blurbs based on a single smoking experience. As such, they may be influenced by the natural variations that occur from one cigar to another. Your mileage may vary. (If I know the cigar well enough to comment, I may mention if an experience strays from what understand to be the norm.)

An appearance in The Week in Smoke does not preclude nor guarantee a future in-depth review. Whenever possible, I’ve linked to more a thoughtful and thorough review of the cigar in question. (Or maybe I’ve linked to a photo of Jerry The ‘Stache. You won’t know until you click.) Enjoy!

Camacho American Barrel Aged Robusto
The Camacho American Barrel Aged cigar is one I’ve been looking forward to trying. If you follow me here or on social media, you probably know I’m a big fan of bourbon. Probably too big a fan, at times it cuts into my cigar budget. A cigar made with tobacco aged in a bourbon barrel sounded like the best of both worlds. I picked one up the first day it touched down in the local shop and lit it that night. Though the blend features just a single bourbon barrel aged leaf, the profile is dominated with oaky flavors, a touch of smoke, some barrel funk and soft creamy bourbon flavor. I picked up other notes along the way, most notably caramel and a some smoked paprika spice. I burned about half of the cigar before I gave into temptation and poured myself some Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. The American Barrel Aged by itself was pretty good, but the cigar with a good bourbon (and this was a really good bourbon) is an experience I’d recommend. It will be interesting to see how these cigars age. Will the bourbon notes meld nicely with the blend, or will those notes dissipate as time passes? My research on this matter will continue.

Casa Fernandez Miami Aniversario Serie 2014 Ares
Sometimes taking my time getting to new cigars comes back to haunt me. Sure the cigars have that critical time recover from transit, and often a few weeks to a month of aging when they’re very new makes a big difference. But when you’re dealing with popular limited editions like this Casa Fernandez Miami Aniversario Serie 2014, it can mean not having another chance to enjoy it. Such is my luck, at least at my local shop. It was a great smoke, I noted a variety of flavors from graham, vanilla and almond at the start to caramel, espresso, aromatic cedar, pepper and berry-like sweetness. If you have the opportunity to buy one, do it.

Crowned Heads Las Calaveras EL 2015 LC46 *
I wasted no time at all getting the new Las Calaveras EL 2015. My unscientific research on cigar smoking habits of social media indicated that 99.3% of the cigar world was already half through a box of them the day before they shipped. I quickly got on board and lit up. The cigar had a very enjoyable first half with floral notes, gingerbread, coffee, chocolate and rich sweet notes, but cigar seemed to lose all that animation a little after the halfway point. The latter portion seemed mainly woody and leathery to me. I wonder if a little time might bring out whatever flavor might be hiding there at the end, or if perhaps it was an off cigar. Overall, it was pretty good, and I’ll give it a second shot.

Nat Sherman 1930 Corona
This week as I was walking through a shops humidor trying to decide what to smoke, I came across the Nat Sherman selection. I scanned the options looking for an Epoca, but none were to be found. So I settled on this 1930 corona. I remembered enjoying it, but it turns out the size I smoked before was the girthy Inmenso, a size that came recommended by the shop’s owner. As unusual as it seems to me, If memory serves, I liked the Inmenso better than this corona.That being said, the corona was a fine cigar, nutty and woody to start, with a touch of syrup and spices. Later caramel, increased spices and some pepper joined the profile. I’d smoke it again, but I think I’d try that Inmenso again first.

Oliva Serie V Maduro 2011 **
I remember when the Oliva Serie V Maduro first came out in 2008. They were great smokes, and they sold quickly. When one shop sold out of them, I went on the hunt looking for another source. I’m pretty sure I wound up buying at least three boxes of them that year. Following years’ editions sold well also, but not quite as well. You can still occasionally find some singles of the more recent years, but I was surprised by this find. This V Maduro is going on four years. I love buying cigars with extended aging included for free. As expected, time has treated this cigar very well. The profile was a decadent combination of bittersweet chocolate, earth, molasses and anise. If your local shop has any of these left, do yourself a favor smoke them.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and an overpriced New Orleans hotel room reservation) are my own, your response to them is your own. All your base are belong to us.

** I have too many smokes, and this denotes that the smoke in question has been sitting in one of my humidors for at least a year, and thus qualifies as “aged”. If my collection continues to grow, the chances are good I’ll be on that Discovery Channel show about people who hoard stuff and face eviction.

Some of the pictures in Brian’s The Week In Smoke first appeared on twitter or instagram. If you’d like to see these lists constructed in real time, follow Brian on twitter or instagram. If you don’t, you’ll make the Fail Whale cry. And he’s ugly when he cries.